African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

Archive for April 14th, 2007

11 die in Nigeria as elections draw nearer

Posted by African Press International on April 14, 2007

Lagos (Nigeria) Six police officers and five civilians were killed Saturday as Nigerians were casting their ballots for the state gubernatorial and parliamentary polls, but despite that, the voters showed their resolve to make the day a democratic triumph for the country.

In the early hours of Saturday, unidentified assailants set ablaze two police stations in Port Harcourt (the capital of the oil-rich Rivers State south of Lagos), killing six officers.

Preliminary indications are that sympathisers of dissident movements active in the Niger Delta stated the attack.

In the neighbouring state of Bayelsa, clashes between sympathisers of various political factions killed three people, while two others died in a similar Lagos fighting, despite the state government’s order restricting movement of people.

On its part, the Federal government came in to place the army and the police in a state of alert, closing the country’s land and sea borders Saturday from 0600 to 1800.

Local press reports said the measure aims at barring the entry of foreigners, some of whom were already reported to have crossed from Benin to vote in the eastern state of Kwara, or from Niger to cast ballots in the northern state of Borno.

But voting unfolded smoothly and promptly despite delays in the opening of the polling stations, with the verification of voter entries on electoral rolls beginning at 10.30 am in a few areas.

President Olusegun Obasanjo cast his ballot at 09.35 am in the Ogun State city of Abeokuta near Lagos, shortly before the outbreak of fresh political violence.

The APA correspondent observed that in Lagos, a number of polling stations failed to open at 0800 as scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Yet overall, turn-out was high in some areas despite the reported violence.

“The operations are going on smoothly and people are showing self-discipline as they want things to get all right so the transition between two civil rules takes place in the best way,” sisters Bisola and Bola Obitusin said.

They lamented the violence and the deaths, blaming them on “people who do not want to vote,” adding there is need to “show ill-intentioned people that Nigeria is capable of experiencing long-term democracy,” both sisters said in unison.

But A.D, a Nigerian journalist, appeared less optimistic, saying violence is among “the country’s habits”.

“I have ceased being sorry for my county long ago. Violence is a tradition that goes with elections in our country. I think about thirty deaths will be reported by the end of the day,” the journalist heralded.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Senegalese President’s plane crash lands en route to Dubai

Posted by African Press International on April 14, 2007

Madrid (Spain) A plane was chartered Saturday from the Moroccan commercial city of Casablanca to the Spanish town of Palma de Majorca to pick up Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade after his official plane made a crash landing due to a technical failure, APA learns from official sources.

The plane, which was flying from Paris en route to Dubai with 48 passengers and 8 crew members, made a crash landing at Palma de Majorca airport after a failure in the cockpit window.

President Wade had to wait for a special plane from Casablanca before proceeding to Dubai, and the Moroccan plane took off from the Palma de Majorca airport at 1300 local time (11 pm GMT).

Wade was on board the plane with a dozen ministers, but all the occupants came out unscathed.

Pointe de Sangomar, which Senegal acquired on 2 November 1976, was revamped in 2002 for 17.5 billion CFA francs.

Erstwhile Senegalese president Leopold Sedar Senghor used the plane for four years before passing it on to his successor Abdou Diouf for his nearly 20-year rule.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Nigeria closes borders in readiness for elections

Posted by African Press International on April 14, 2007

Lagos (Nigeria) The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has disclosed the closure of Nigeria’s land borders with neighbouring countries during Saturday’s elections and the presidential elections on April 21.

The Comptroller of the Seme Border Command of NIS in Lagos, Mr Emmanuel Gbuuga, said on Saturday the directive was received from the NIS high command in Abuja.

Gbuuga said the Nigeria/Benin Republic border would be closed as from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

“We plead with cross-border travellers to re-schedule their plans during the period as we don’t want a repeat of the experience during the Benin Republic parliamentary elections on March 30 when their border was closed and Nigerian travellers were stranded,’’ he said.

The NIS Comptroller added that security had been beefed up at the Seme border, to prevent unscrupulous politicians from luring mercenaries from neighbouring countries to participate in the Nigerian elections.

Gbuuga said in the last three weeks, officers and men of the NIS and the Special Border Patrol Team had been put on alert to check the illegal influx of foreigners.

According to him, the command has also recalled all its officers and men on vacation to ensure that all duty-posts are effectively manned and patrolled during the period.

He said more than 100 officers had been deployed to keep vigil at strategic locations around the border.

Gbuuga said that the Beninese authorities were cooperating with them by ensuring that travellers passed through only the official route during the period.

Gbuuga said his officials had held a meeting with leaders of the border communities to sensitise them against aiding the smuggling of mercenaries into the country during the elections.

Meanwhile, Mr Sunday Bada, Commander of the Nigeria/Benin Joint Border Patrol, has confirmed that security had been tightened at the border.

Bada said in the last three months, his officers and men had been on alert to prevent the smuggling of arms and ammunition into Nigeria.

Bada added that even bush paths normally used by illegal travellers and smugglers were now being manned.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

%d bloggers like this: